An interview with Ami Blenkharn, 18, from Carnforth
When did you start the course?
September 2015. I’m in my second year and finish this summer.
What course are you studying at Kendal College?
Forensic Science, Level 3, which is equivalent to 3 A-Levels
Why did you choose this course?
I was just so interested in criminal investigation and psychology, especially working with offenders and understanding why they commit the crimes they do.
Why did you choose Kendal College?
I knew that A-Levels wouldn’t get me to where I wanted to go, as I couldn’t do exams, and I wanted to get away from school life. I came to an Open Evening and saw the lab and that’s what made me want to come.
What do you most enjoy about College life?
The freedom of it. Freedom that you have the time and resources to plan your assignments and do them in your own time. I have 3 full days in college – up to 5pm, and then 2 days to complete my assignments. We learn how to organise our time and don’t waste these days, so it’s really preparing me for university. We can use all the college resources throughout the week e.g. library, university hub, macs, iPads, laptops, books, and you have the time to get things right.
It’s such a big difference than school because you get treated like an adult, like you would at uni. I feel more grown up here, some of my friends still get detentions and their phones taken away from them, but here it’s a more grown up environment.
I really like that if you’re struggling or don’t get the grades you need the tutors talk to you first, enabling you to personally try and figure it out, rather than straight away phoning your parents. There is a parents evening once a year, which is good, and enables parents to see the facilities and speak to the tutors, who are always contactable by phone too. So it’s a good balance between treating you like an adult and still involving your parents so they can support you. If you go to uni, parents aren’t involved at all, so it’s preparing you and building you up for university and independence.
I’ve learnt so much that I would have learnt at school e.g.
- Harvard referencing
- Essay writing
- Using my time well and organising myself
- Planning essays and making breakdowns, so I understand what I need to do
- Time management
- Teamwork and communication
- Lap skills and working with the equipment and chemicals
- And so much more!
We learn the skills we need for university, whereas school is just focused on exams. We had extra classes on referencing and assignment writing. We have also done 3 scientific reports, which is like a mini dissertation. We have to write a hypothesis & null hypothesis, introduction, abstract, literature review, methods, results, discussion and conclusion.
I don’t have to wait until August to get my grades. We have 19 modules, with about 4 assessments for each, so you know how you are doing and what else you need to do. If you don’t get a result first time for an assignment, you have the opportunity to re-submit once. It’s all coursework, I don’t have to worry about exams at all.
Coming to college is a no brainer for me!
What opportunities have you had as a student at the College?
My confidence has increased massively. As well as the course, we can be a class rep and we get to go on loads of trips. We’ve been to Lancaster University twice for a university talk on Criminology, a tour and a Chemistry day, where we did the experiments we couldn’t do in college. There was the opportunity to go to Geneva last year and I went to London for a day trip to a policing museum. We saw how evidence was collected, learnt about the death penalty and how innocent people were killed for crimes they didn’t commit. We also had the freedom to go out and have lunch by ourselves. We’ve also been to a factory that makes cleaning products, which the Principal set up for us. We were shown around the labs and saw what chemicals they use.
What is the teaching style like on your course?
We have three teachers and the teaching is really varied. We’ve done two mock crime scenes including collecting evidence, photography, filing in evidence bags, making sure all the notes are up to standard and doing what a CSI would do. Lessons use power points, group work, research on the computers and then going to do experiments.
In a unit we had on Forensic Evidence Collection and Analysis, we used lab equipment and microscopes to analyse things like hair samples, bullet samples, and blood samples.
What are you hoping to do after College?
I applied for Forensic Anthropology (study of bones), Forensic Psychology and Criminal Justice, Forensic Science and Criminal Investigation, and Forensic Psychology at two different universities. I got offers from all of them in December, much early than my friends in sixth form! We get taught how to apply for university, we don’t have to do it by ourselves. We’ve had a talk from Student Finance and I’m now applying for that. I’ve decided to UCLAN for Forensic Psychology, as it’s one of the best places for policing. After that I’d like to work in a prison or with the police either doing criminal profiling or working in the prison with offenders, maybe counselling and therapy.
If you could give one piece of advice to people considering College, what would it be?
Just do it! Take the risk, it might be scary because it’s something new, but if you go from school to uni it’s even scarier, here you learn what you need to prepare for uni!
CLICK HERE to see more information about this course.